By Bill Tamburrino
By winning the Oceanside series the Bulldog baseball team gave itself a chance to play for the Valley League championship in the final week of the season against Del Norte High School on the road.
The Dawgs are 18-9 on the season and 10-4 in league. An 11-4 record will get the Dawgs a share of the league pennant.
“I like our chances. Oceanside is a good team and we came through in the clutch to win the series. We came from behind in the sixth inning of the final game of the series to give ourselves a chance for a championship. We will give it our all at Del Norte. That is what we do,” said coach Dean Welch at the Baseball-Softball Tournament after he put on a clinic in the art of the Power-fade shot.
The first game of the Oceanside series started with a home run in the bottom of the first inning but the game was decided on bunts as Oceanside beat the Dawgs at Rocky Lawler field 4-3.
Ramona scored two in the first inning and Pirates came back to tie the game in the top of the third frame. Brandon Fitzpatrick executed a perfect suicide squeeze bunt and legged it out for a single in the bottom of the frame to take a 3-2 lead.
The Pirates tied the game in the fifth inning and then another bunt came into play. With two down and a runner on third in the top of the sixth inning, Mark Boston noticed that third baseman Kyle Wilson was playing back and guarding the line to prevent an extra base hit. Boston dropped a drag bunt that scored the winning run on a delivery by Rhett Williams. Williams went the distance and got the loss as he gave up three earned runs and struck out six as he limited the Pirates to four hits.
Henry Flecker had a great day at the plate. The senior south paw went 3-for-4 and scored a run. Kyle Wilson and Tyler Sherman also stroked singles for the Dawgs.
The game was marred by controversy. Oceanside’s head coach, Dave Barrett, was ejected from the game for being sarcastic after the umpires had issued a warning. Welch also questioned some close calls.
For the second straight start in a row the Bulldog offense provided pitcher Kyle Wilson with a plethora of runs in a 17-3 rout of the Pirates and Wilson responded with a complete game victory to improve his record to 7-3 on the season and 41 in league action. Wilson gave up six hits and struck out eight.
Ramona’s offense went wild. Fitzpatrick and CJ Broussard both blasted grand slam home runs. Joel Mitchell and Jordan Farhat also ripped round trippers in the game. Mitchell went 3-for-3 with two RBIs. Taylor Burger had a three hit day. Flecker’s bat remained hot as he stroked two hits. Canning, Joey Belluso, and Tyler Sherman also hit safely in the rout.
“We hit two grand slam home runs in the first two innings and Gage (Canning) came about four inches of hitting another grand slam. We were hitting shots. Even our outs were stroked,” said Welch.
”I was worried going into the sixth inning. We weren’t doing the things that we have been doing so well all year. We were not executing our bunting game or any part of our short game. However, everything came to life in the sixth inning. We put the ball in play and we made good adjustments at the plate. And in doing so we scored four runs and got a MUST win,” said Welch after the final game of the series, a 4-3 Bulldog win on the road.
Mitchell, Fitzpatrick, Flecker, and Belluso all came up with RBI singles and Broussard and Hagan got key hits. Trevor Yerkey and Carl Schwettman came in as pinch runners and scored for Broussard and Mitchell.
Hagan, Broussard, and Belluso all had two hit days and Farhat also contributed a hit to the win.
Broussard went the distance on the mound and picked up the win. He gave up three runs on three hits and fanned eight.
“This week every pitcher had a solid performance. Our staff pounds the strike zone and doesn’t give up many walks. They all threw strikes and let our defense make plays. They are a great group to coach,” said pitching coach Josh Lohman.